PAT MCGRATH LABS Skin Fetish Highlighters: Hit or Miss?

If I had to create a list of the makeup brands that excel in quality of formulas and pigments Pat McGrath Labs would be definitely among the first who comes to my mind. I’m totally obsessed with MatteTrance lipstick that I’ve shared in one of my  videos reviews on Youtube.

This summer, Pat McGrath Labs released a line of new highlighters that includes both a pallet with 3 pressed highlighters and 3 dual end cream-sticks. They were first launched at Sephora with Early Access for VIB Rouge members, and as it always happens with this brand, most of the products were sold out within minutes.

Thankfully, there are back in stock now.

Sublime Skin Highlighting Trio ($50, Buy Now)

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Highlighter in Iridescent Pink 003 (opalescent pale rose), Fine Gold 003 (glittering yellow gold), Bronze Nectar 003 (gleaming soft copper)

The formula of these highlighters is considered as gel-powder, which is basically a combination of creamy and powdery textures. Even though the highlighters come as a pressed powder, neither of them feel too dry or flaky on my skin. The powder is so fine, it indeed imitates a cream or liquid texture on the skin with tiny glitter which is visible only when direct light hits the highlighter. Each highlighter is pearl-infused and adds multi-dimensional effect to the skin as it melts into the skin contributing to glowing complexion.

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Diffused Light
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Direct Sunlights

When compared to my favorite Sugar Glow Kit from Anastasia Beverly Hills, it feels less creamy and more powder-ish. But when you apply it to your skin… here is where you see the dramatic difference.

As I said before, they blend really well filling all the lines of skin texture, which is even better than when swatching highlighters from Sugar Glow Kit. If I could measure the shine, I’d say it is probably twice stronger and the coverage is better falling somewhere between medium to full compared to Sugar kit or any other highlighters I have in my collection.

This is that very moment when the camera can’t actually show how gorgeous the highlighters are.

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Comparing Highlighting Trio to other products in my collection. From top left:

Iridescent Pink 003 from Pat McGrath Labs Sublime Skin Highlighting Trio

Gumdrop from Anastasia Beverly Hills Sugar Glow Kit

Fine Gold 003 from Pat McGrath Labs Sublime Skin Highlighting Trio

Marshmallow from Anastasia Beverly Hills Sugar Glow Kit

Bronze Nectar 003 from Pat McGrath Labs Sublime Skin Highlighting Trio

Darker shades of Mini Shimmer Brick in Bronze from Bobbi Brown

When I first received this pallet, I doubted if the first two iridescent shades with purplish and greenish casts would be wearable and I actually ordered it because of the Bronze Nectar 003 shade – a true Sun Kissed Blush color.

Honestly, I was surprised to find myself using Iridescent Pink 003 shade quite often keeping the rest of the makeup in nude range and matching the highlighter with my Pat McGrath Labs Lust Lip Gloss in Pale Fire Nectar.

The highlighter is recommended to be applied with your fingers or with duo-fiber brush in circular motions. Depending on the brush you’re using, you either can create a narrow sharp line on your cheekbones, or use a fluffier brush for more airbrushed effect. I used the Buffer 003 Brush in the photographs presented below, which blends the product pretty well, however, causes some glitter fallouts around. The fallouts are not seen in diffused soft light, but you’ll definitely going to notice them in the direct harsh light.

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From top to bottom: Iridescent Pink 003, Fine Gold 003, Bronze Nectar 003

Did you know that your cheekbones are not the only area where you can use these products? Try to put a bit of highlighter on your nose bridge, under your brows, on the center of eyelids and the collar bones.

By the way, all of the three shades can be used separately or mixed all together to create a nice rose gold shade – the fourth shade that you’ve seen on swatches.

The packaging

The trio comes in a cardboard pallet that opens two ways and closes on magnets, while also has an elastic closure. It doesn’t have a mirror but has a clear plastic with names of each highlighters on top of the pressed product. The packaging of all the products from Skin Fetish Collection looks like a page from a newspaper or fashion magazine.

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List of Ingredients:

Fine Gold 003:
Alumina, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Mica, Glycerin, Tin Oxide, Silica, Squalane, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Polysorbate 20, 1,2-Hexanediol, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-di-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Chondrus Crispus, Xanthan Gum, Caprylyl Glycol, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891).

Iridescent Pink 003:
Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Glycerin, Squalane, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Polysorbate 20, 1,2-Hexanediol, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-di-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Chondrus Crispus, Xanthan Gum, Caprylyl Glycol, Tin Oxide, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891).

Bronze Nectar 003:
Mica, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Glycerin, HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Squalane, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Silica, Ethylhexylglycerin, Polysorbate 20, 1,2-Hexanediol, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-di-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Chondrus Crispus, Xanthan Gum, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Dicalcium Phosphate, Caprylyl Glycol, Tin Oxide, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Aluminum Powder (Ci 77000), Iron Oxides (Ci 77491), Carmine (Ci 75470).

The ingredients list looks pretty good, except for couple of ingredients in bold.

Sublime Skin Highlighting Trio is available at Sephora and for $50.

Buffer 003 Brush ($25, Buy Now)

This is a synthetic duo-fiber brush – the only brush featured in this collection.

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To be honest, I’m having mixed feelings about this brush. I have other duo-fiber brushes and compared to them Buffer 003 seems more fluffy. However, after playing a little more with it, I’ve noticed that it gives a nice airbrushed effect when you use in circular motion. Lately, I prefer to apply highlighters either with fingers or with fluffy angled brushes like the one from Bobbi Brown. By using an angled brush I feel like I have more control on spreading the product, as the Buffer 003 brush let some fallouts of glitter to happen around your highlighter. As I said, they are only seen when the direct light hits those areas.

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Nevertheless, what I noticed about this dual-fiber brush is that you can control the intensity of these blinding highlighters and build them up.

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The Buffer 003 Brush is available at Sephora and for $25.

Skin Fetish Highlighter + Balm Duo ($48, Buy Now)

I was especially excited about this particular product in the collection. It’s a two end stick with colored highlighter on one end and a transparent reflective balm on the other. Skin Fetish Highlighter + Balm Duo is available in 3 shades: Bronze, Nude and Golden. I decided to try Golden.

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The highlighter in Golden matches my skin tone and has warm undertones. The texture is more creamy than the Vanish Flash Highlighting Stick from Hourglass, and blends in more seamlessly. If you prefer no-makeup makeup look, use your finger to apply and blur the highlighter.  Alternatively, you can use the Buffer 003 brush or any other brush of your choice.

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Compared to the Sublime Skin Highlighting Trio, this highlighter is very subtle and is perfect for everyday use.

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The balm on the other end comes the same in all variations.

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It is transparent and reflective and the formula is infused with aloe and argan oils as well as hyaluronic acid. The combination of these ingredients not only looks and feels good but also benefits your skin. I swatched it on one hand, and now I feel that my skin there is smoother compared to the other hand.

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If you like dewey, bare skin look, you’ll like the balm a lot.  Did I mention how good it smells?

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Comparing to other highlighters in my collection:

Nudestix Nudies All Over Face Color in Illumi-naughty

Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish Highlighter + Balm Duo in Golden

Milk Makeup Highlighter

Hourglass Vanish Flash Highlighting Stick in Champagne Flash

You can apply them separately, or layer them for intensified shine. By the way, by layering highlighters from the trio over the balm, you can blind somebody with the strobing glow.

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From top to bottom: Balm alone and Balm + Highlighter

Some people say that applying the balm and the highlighter straight from the stick on your face can ruin the foundation that you already have and it works best when applied with fingers. I was testing these highlighters with Armani Silk Foundation and I let it dry pretty well before applying the balm, trying both methods. I can’t say I noticed that my foundation was swept away when I tried swiping a product from the stick, but just personally I prefer to apply it with my fingers. This is how I usually apply all of my highlighting sticks.

As well as with the Highlighting Trio, you can use this highlighter duo on different parts of your face and body.

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List of Ingredients:

Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Diethylhexyl Adipate, Dimethicone, Mica, Polyethylene, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax (Candelilla Cera), Talc, Silica, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Microcrystalline Wax (Cera Microcristallina), Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Octyldodecanol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Cholesteryl Hydroxystearate, Tocopherol, Lecithin, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Glyceryl Stearate, Glyceryl Oleate, Citric Acid, Nylon-12, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Iron Oxides (Ci 77491).

The ingredients list looks pretty good as well, except for ingredients in bold which fall in Moderate hazard rate at EWG (3-4).

Skin Fetish Highlighter + Balm Duo is available at Sephora as well as for $48.

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Overall, Pat Mcgrath Labs stay true to their quality. I’m especially surprised with the pigments of Sublime Skin Highlighting Trio. For me, it is definitely a hit and I’m glad I have it now in my collection as these highlighters are worth every penny. I’m not sure about the brush though, but I believe I’m going to give it another chance.

Did you have a chance to try these highlighters? Let me know in the comments down below!

This post is not sponsored. My disclaimer is here.

If any of the products cause irritation discontinue use immediately.

Let’s chat! Follow me on instagram @sunkissedblush_blog

Beauty Destination: What to Pack to Miami

With fluctuating airline ticket prices and extra-fees for the luggage, my main problem with packing for travel is usually answering the following question: What from my vanity cabinet will make it to the destination?

After paying $100 for over-weight baggage, obviously because of the heavy makeup bag, I’m trying to be realistic on skincare and makeup products that I would definitely need and use during the trip.

The decision-making process can be hard. As a frequent flyer, I can definitely tell that the content of your makeup bag can dramatically change depending on the type of travel, days of travel and the destination.

To save you some time and bucks, I decided to share top picks based on my experience on each and every destination that I’ve travelled. I’ll start with one of my favorite places on earth: Miami.

Miami is one of our favorite vacation destinations, my husband even considers this place as “our second home”. This sunny relaxing city is so inviting, that it’s almost our first choice when we are planning our next vacation. Because you can sunbathe, relax and party  – and do it all in one place, your makeup bag should definitely represent all these activities.


Body Sunscreen

Since now I’m so much smarter about the sunscreens – and hope, you are too after my extensive research on this type of sun protection – I’d recommend using COOLA® Suncare Mineral Sport Sunscreen Stick SPF 50. You won’t have problems with TSA to take it onboard because it’s a stick. You can also opt for a tinted one since it won’t leave white residue on your skin, which means you can use it away from the beach.


 COOLA® Suncare Mineral Sport Sunscreen Stick SPF 50, (26$, Buy Now)

Don’t forget to reapply it every 80 minutes and follow the instructions of the package. Make sure you apply enough product  – 1 shot glass for the body, as we know now is the right amount, since under-application substantially decreases the SPF factor.

And remember, that the best sun protection is still seeking shade and covering your body with clothing during the peak hours!

Face Sunscreen

You face is what represents you, so make sure you don’t forget about it as well. To make your life easier, take the Umbra Tinte™ Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30  from Drunk Elephant. Because it is tinted, You can use it while you’re at the beach and afterwards if you wish to wander in the streets during the day. It won’t make you look white and the glow that it adds to your skin will look perfect on pictures!


Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte™ Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30 from  ($36, Buy Now)

As well as with the body sunscreen, you need to reapply this sunscreen every 2 hours and use a dollop amount of the product for the optimal protection.

Skip on mists, sprays, powders especially for your face, even if you’re being told in the store that they are mineral and safe for your skin, which they are. However, they are not safe for inhalation as they can damage the lungs.

Lip Balm with Sunscreen

Don’t forget about your lips! Burt’s Bees 100% Natural All-Weather Moisturizing Lip Balm with SPF15 is ranked by EWG as the safest options available for lips sun protection on the market today.

Burt's Bees

Burt’s Bees 100% Natural All-Weather SPF15 Moisturizing Lip Balm, 2 Count ($6.99, Buy Now)

Sunscreens for Kids

For kids, I’d recommend All Good SPF 30 Kids Sunscreen Lotion. Check with your airline company if this size of the cream is acceptable on board.


NEW All Good SPF 30 Kids Sunscreen Lotion, Water Resistant, 3 oz, ($15.19, Buy Now)

For babies, FDA recommends to stay away from any type of sunscreens so make sure your babies are in the shade or you use clothing as the protection from sun exposure.

Aftersun gel

Whether you love tanning, or you try to avoid the sun, the aftersun lotion is a must in your body care routine. My favorite one is from Korres because it is made with natural greek yogurt – a milk product used for centuries to cool the skin after the sun exposure.


KORRES After Sun Greek Yoghurt Cooling Gel for Face and Body, ($26.00, Buy Now)

By the way, you can also apply it to your face! For a more cooling effect, put it in a fridge or an ice bucket!

If you’re travelling only with the hand luggage, you would probably need to put this cream into the travel container. Check with your airline for allowed sizes for liquid on board.

Facial Moisturizers

Your skin will be dehydrated by the sun and the ocean, so you need to replenish it with the most effective moisturizers. I’ve tried lots of different products and here is my short list:

Moisturizing Serum

Chanel Micro Serum


In my highlights on Instagram, I’ve already shared my results after using this serum. In one word, it is amazing, one of the best products I’ve ever tried so far.

Face Moisturizer, Lotion and Essence

SKII _Pitera_Welcome_Kit

SK-II Pitera Welcome Set ($110, Buy Now)

These are another products that I’ve also tried and shared in my highlights. The best part of this kit is that you get three amazing products  – an essence, a lotion and a facial cream – for quite a decent price ( compared to full-size prices and the kit’s value of $155) and they are in a perfect size for travel. Check with your airlines though, if they let you take 2.5 oz of the essence onboard before you leave the house!

Moisturizing Eye Cream

Since your relaxation and time that you spend outdoors during the vacation will probably contribute to a good sleep and less visible dark circles, skip on heavy eye creams and use the moisturizing one instead. My personal favorite is Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado from Kiehl’s. You can find the detailed review of this cream is in this blog post.

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Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado ($29.00, Buy Now)


Hair mask

I’ve always used to be less caring about hair when I travel, however things changed. Still, if I can skip on my favorite Living Proof shampoo that I’ve written about earlier in this blog, there is nothing else found in the hotel room that can help me with the dry split ends. Moreover, since they are getting worse because of the environmental exposure, I no longer can be that neglecting. Luckily, I’ve discovered L’Oreal Ever Pure Hair Sheet Mask that I’ve written about in my previous post. It is easy to pack and you’ll get the result instantaneously.

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L’oreal Ever Pure Intense Repair Hair Sheet Mask, 1 sheet mask, ($3.97, Buy Now)


Tying your hair in the braids is a good idea to get effortless beachy waves. I’m always taking my Invisibobble hair ties with me. It is so much easier to wash them and bring them back in shape after using – just scroll on my highlights on my instagram!


Invisibobble Original Hair Tie – Crystal Clear, pack of 3, ($8.00, Buy Now)

Hair Brush

Taking my Mason Pearson bore bristle brush may be a good idea, but jamming it into overpacked makeup bag may be not. Instead, I’d take the travel-friendly Tangle Teezer Compact Styler Professional Detangling Brush.


Tangle Teezer Compact Styler Professional Detangling Brush ($22, Buy Now)


The best makeup for Miami is in a creamy texture that will literally melt on your skin for the most natural, sun-kissed effortless look.


For me, Miami is associated with smudged “effortless” liner or creamy eyeshadows.


My new obsession is Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner from Marc Jacobs. You can choose from a variety of shades, but the black one is a must-have. They are waterproof and soo creamy and pigmented.


MARC JACOBS BEAUTY Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner ($25.00, Buy Now)


For creamy eyeshadows, I’d go for Charlotte Tilburi Color Chameleon Color Morphing Eyeshadow Pencil. It is technically a thick pencil with extremely creamy texture and pigmented formula very similar to cream eyeshadows and yet more comfortable to use. I especially like the shades Golden Quartz.

Charlotte Tilburi Color Chameleon Color Morphing Eyeshadow Pencil, ($27, Buy Now)

If you don’t like eyeshadows in cream, you can use this small travel pallet from Smashbox. Use your fingers to get more pigment out of the product and soften the edges of your eyeshadows with a fluffy clean brush.


SMASHBOX Double Exposure Travel Palette, ($24.00, Buy Now)


I was very skeptical about Benefit’s latest BADgal BANG! mascara and I didn’t like it at all when I tried it for the first time. Believe me or not, I like it a lot right now. I don’t know what has changed, but now it’s among my favorite products! And it is quite resistant to humidity so you definitely want to take it with you to Miami!


BADgal BANG! volumizing mascara travel size mini, ($12.00,Buy Now)


I suggest to skip on foundation and let your skin shine! For more confidence, you can use a concealer to hide small imperfections.


If you are looking for the concealer that will give you enough confidence with your “bare” skin, try the Benefit’s Boi-ing Airbrush concealer. It will give enough coverage and will look natural on your skin. My shade is 02.


Benefit Boi-ing Airbrush Concealer, ($20.00,Buy Now)

Bronzer + Blush

There is no sun-kissed blush look without a bronzer or a blush! To save more space I’d recommend Terracotta Light Powder from Guerlain. It has some blush pigment alongside to the natural bronzer shades, resulting in the most subtle refreshing luminous bronzer you can get.


Guerlain Terracotta Light Powder, ($53.00, Buy Now)


Alternatively, or in addition to this, you can also consider Tom Ford’s Shade & Illuminate Glow Stick in Sunstruck with a rose-gold highlighter on one end and a coral blush on the other.


Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate Glow Stick ($55.00, Buy Now)


While it is so hard to pick just one highlighter, I’ve just discovered one from Hourglass in shade Champagne Flash and I’m absolutely in love with it! It gives such a natural subtle glow, that you can wear during the day and night. You can use it on high points of your cheekbones, nose, corner of your eyes and on your cupid’s bow – wherever you feel the necessity to add more luminosity to your beautiful skin.


Hourglass Vanish Flash Highlighting Stick ($42.00, Buy Now)


Miami is a hot place, so if you want to keep your favorite Tom Ford lipstick in shape, my best advice is to skip on it. Instead, try liquid lipsticks or lip glosses. My favorite liquid lipstick is Powermatte Lip Pigment from Nars. I’ve already got one in American Woman, and I’m planning to get a red and coral-pinkish one.

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Nars Powermatte Lip Pigment ($26.00, Buy Now)

Lip glosses are trending this season, and the new collection from Pat McGrath is so tempting.


PAT MCGRATH LABS LUST: Lip Gloss ($28.00, Buy Now)

Alternatively, you can also get Tinted Balm from Lanolips. Your smooth conditioned lips with thank you for this care.


Lanolips Tinted Balm ($13.40, Buy Now)

Makeup Removal

Can we get a little lazy here?

Micellar water is one of the best inventions in beauty. If you like Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Water, you’ll appreciate these wipes for sensitive skin. There are no TSA restrictions on wipes, so feel free to take it onboard.


Makeup Brushes

Since most of the mentioned products can be applied with fingers, you would need only a brush for bronzer and a couple for eyeshadows.


Tom Ford’s Soleil Blanc is the perfect perfume for Miami. If you want something more affordable and less bulky, 10 ml eau de toilette of MAISON MARGIELA ’REPLICA’ Beach Walk is the best option for you. it has a similar to Soleil Blanc notes, in particular Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Coconut and Benzoin. This size is also acceptable by TSA.


MAISON MARGIELA ’REPLICA’ Beach Walk, 10 mL Eau de Toilette Rollerball, ($28, Buy Now)

Makeup Bag

There shouldn’t be any questions about why I decided to feature Miami White Jumbo Zip Cosmetic Bag in this blog post.

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Stephanie Johnson Miami White Jumbo Zip Cosmetic Bag ($38, Buy Now)

By the way, TSA prefers seeing your liquids in a transparent makeup case or plastic bag – so this case is the absolute winner.


Did you find any of your favorite products on the list that you’d definitely take on your vacation at the beach? Would you add something else to this list? Let me know in the comments down below!

This post is not sponsored. My disclaimer is here.

If any of the products cause irritation discontinue use immediately.

Let’s chat! Follow me on instagram @sunkissedblush_blog